Cortland County representatives provide suggestions to combat COVID-19 spread

(Photo Source: Unplash).

New York state representatives, Cortland County legislators and health authorities are encouraging Cortland County residents to seek COVID-19 vaccination, as well as booster shots, and other mitigation strategies to combat an uptick in active cases.

Officials representing the county and the city of Cortland at the state and local levels, along with health authorities, recommend a variety of strategies to mitigate the spread of the virus.

At a county legislature meeting last week, the legislature unanimously approved measures to increase vaccination pop-up clinics in certain parts of the county, and to agree to receive funds to combat the rise in cases.

The pop-up vaccination clinics are set to be located in Marathon, Truxton, and the City of Cortland, and will take place from Dec. 28 of this year through February of next year.

Dates for the pop-up vaccination clinics are as follows (Each clinic will run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. unless noted):

  • Civic Center in the village of Marathon (11 Brink St.), Dec. 28-30
  • Port Watson Mini-Conference center in the city of Cortland (131 Port Watson St.), Jan. 13-15
  • Civic Center in the village of Marathon (11 Brink St.), Jan. 18-20
  • Truxton Academy Charter School in the town of Truxton (6337 Academy St.), Jan. 27-29 (Pause from 2-4 p.m. on school days for bus pickups)
  • Port Watson Mini-Conference center in the city of Cortland (131 Port Watson St.), Feb. 3-5

The county health department was recently awarded $176,662 by the NYS Department of Health. According to the resolution put forth by the county legislature, these funds will be used to expand COVID-19 vaccine administration hours of operation, increase COVID-19 vaccine administration equity, promote and increase the uptake of COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, and administer COVID-19 booster doses.

Cortland County Health Director Nicole Anjeski gave some recommendations to county residents at last week’s meeting.

“We encourage everyone to wear a mask, avoid gathering with others, get tested, and stay away from others if you have symptoms,” she said in a statement read by clerk of the legislature Savannah Hempstead. “(We also encourage) everyone to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as you are able to. We are also encouraging everyone to get the flu vaccine.”

County Legislator Cathy Bischoff, who chairs the Cortland County Health & Human Services Committee, told residents to “think about why and for whom we celebrate this (holiday) season.”

“Please remember that the person behind you or in front in that line waiting to pay for Christmas gifts could be immunocompromised,” she said. “Please love your neighbor and wear your mask.”

State officials have joined in on asking county residents to help combat the spread of the virus.

“The more we can collectively reduce the spread of the virus, the greater our collective chances are of slowing the evolution of the virus into new variants,” Assemblymember Anna Kelles (D-Ithaca) said in a release issued Monday. “There is a collective fatigue from almost two years of isolation, unstable finances and increased overall stress. The way through to the other side is to get the virus under control.” 

Gov. Kathy Hochul recently announced masks will be required to be worn in all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement. The announcement came as concerns arose for major viral spread during holiday gatherings and activities.

“As governor, my top priority is to protect the health of New Yorkers and the health of our economy. These temporary measures will help us get through the holiday season safely,” Hochul said. “I share everyone’s frustration that we have gotten to this point, especially with the vaccine at our disposal. I want to thank the millions of New Yorkers who have done the right thing to get fully vaccinated. We are all in this together and if others will follow suit, these measures will no longer be necessary.” 

Kelles emphasized the need for community cooperation with health and safety strategies.

“This can only be done together,” she said. “I urge everyone to comply with this mandate with a mask and a vaccine card and safely support our local businesses at a time when they need us as much as we enjoy their contribution to the vibrancy of our community.”

For more information or questions on COVID-19, vaccine registration and more, contact the county health department at 607-345-1184.